EAGLES SHOULD LOOK FOR A LINEBACKER IN THIS YEAR'S FIRST ROUND OF THE DRAFT
By PETE OHNEGIAN
Penn State Linebacker
Junior / Opt out
Micah Parsons is ready to star in the NFL. At 6’3” 245 pounds, he played in his last college football game in December 2019. In fact, he did not just play but DOMINATED as he seemed to be all over the field versus Memphis in the 2019 Cotton Bowl. For his efforts, Parsons received the Defensive MVP award.
In 2019, Parsons was a consensus All American as a sophomore and First team All-Big Ten. On the largest stage, the Penn State linebacker recorded the following stat line: 14 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 FF. He literally was a difference maker and game changer for the Penn State defense in their Bowl victory.
HIGH SCHOOL Perhaps you have heard about Micah Parsons, and know all of this already. But did you know that he was a highly touted five-star talent coming out of Harrisburg HS. As a senior running back he rushed for 1,239 yards and 27 touchdowns and recorded 9 1⁄2 sacks and an interception as a defensive end.
His instinctiveness as a linebacker in space can be traced back to his vision as a running back and his block destruction and ability to dissect offensive plays was aided by his experience as a defensive end in high school. This is frightening, but he is still learning the nuances of linebacker play. One thing is for sure he makes plays all over the field. ATTRIBUTES/COMPARISONS Do not be concerned about Parsons ability to adapt his game to the NFL. He is the future of all NFL linebacker traits. He has speed, explosiveness, strength and athleticism to play every down. He can run sideline to sideline like Ray Lewis and will come up and make a stop at the point of attack or behind the line of scrimmage like Luke Kuechly.
He is adept at avoiding blocks, reading plays and takes great angles in pursuit of the ball carrier. Parsons can set the edge as a run defender and can rush the passer versus a lineman or a running back in blitz pickup. He is a playmaker that can change a game and he makes everyone around him better.
OPTING OUT Micah Parsons is focused. He has not opted out of his junior season in fear of the Covid-19 virus, but rather maximizing on this time to develop physically, mentally and emotionally for professional football.
Opting out for Micah Parsons was a family business decision as he has a 2 1⁄2 year old son, Malcolm.Parsons is determined to make a better life for his family.
TRAINING Parsons speed and strength has already been publicized during his time at Penn State where he back squatted 575 pounds and was clocked at 4.43 in the 40 yd dash along with a 4.24 in the pro agility shuttle.
He is currently in Los Angeles, CA where he is executing a precise pre-Draft routine with former NFL Strength Coach Ryan Capretta at ProActive Edge. Capretta specializes in preparing top prospects for the NFL Combine and Pro Day workouts.
OUTLOOK During the NFL Draft you often see a template that displays “Best Available Pick” as the draft progresses into day two and the later rounds. Micah Parsons is the BEST Linebacker in the 2021 Draft despite not playing his junior year.
Remember when Nick Bosa was sidelined during the 2018 college season at Ohio State and he opted to get his groin/abdominal injury 100 percent and prepare for the NFL Draft after only three games into his junior season.
Parsons has opted out because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 virus and is now focused on performing off the charts for the NFL coaches and front office people this winter. Micah Parsons is different.
He will excel at the professional level and make offenses change their schemes and play calls based on where he is lined up and how he is utilized by the fortunate team to pick him. EAGLES...TRADE UP! Pete Ohnegian is a former college football player at Lafayette, an Arena League Football League player, Performance Coach and actor. His movie appearances include "Any Given Sunday" and "The Replacements." Email Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org